i'm not really a waitress... (raiindust) wrote in aintafairytale,
i'm not really a waitress...

2014 - guide: creating textures.

Requested by: the lovely absolutelybatty

opening remarks

Texture making has been my jam this year. It's kept me involved in graphics when nothing else interested me, and allowed me to have fun and get creative in somewhat of a less stressful way (in comparison to icons or larger graphics at least). The best thing about textures is their versatility - they are shared as one thing, but can be used in a million different ways. The same can be said for making textures. They can be created in a myriad of ways, with no one correct path to take. That's hopefully what this guide emphasizes, while exploring just a couple of different options you can use (individually or together) to create textures.

This guide assumes a working knowledge of at least Photoshop CS5, as that's the program that I use. Though there are elements that I hope could be translated to other graphic making programs.


Like icons, textures begin with a base. Sometimes it defines what sort of texture you'll be making, for example if you found a fantastic pattern on a wall or floor, or if you downloaded an amazing image from a stock website, but other times you can actually just choose to begin with a blank canvas and see what happens from there.

If you are looking for something to give you a theme or idea of where to start your texture, I'd recommend checking out contextures, which has fabulously inspiring challenges for you to participate in!

01. websites
Beyond searching google images for [insert random word here], these are some of the websites I frequent quite often while searching for images to create textures.
hubblesite.org: offers a range of space images for use. This site was recommended by innocent_lexys in her texture making guide, which I have linked at the bottom of this guide.
freeimages.com: a free stock website with a large variety of images. You do have to register to browse the free portion of the photos, but it is worthwhile.
internet archive: an archive with downloadable texts, some of which have some wonderful images, or textured pages to use.
polanoid.net: A polaroid sharing site. What I love about this site is the variety of edges and borders polaroids offer that can be manipulated in textures.

02. personal images
Just as easy as searching for images is taking some of your own. Take a quick walk outside (or inside) with a camera. Snap some pictures of the floor, the wall, some trees, the sun or the sky. You don't have to do anything creative, just get some images that might inspire some textures!

03. screencaps
Screencaps can be fabulous for creating textures. Some shows have wonderful credit sequences, with lots of lights blurred and stuff, and other shows just have fantastic episodes with scenes that produce amazing screencaps perfect for textures.

They don't always have to be obscure like the images above either. Any screencap should work, depending on what sort of texture you wanted to create.

04. from scratch
There is nothing wrong with starting with a blank canvas either. It all depends on the sort of texture you want to make.


Filters are fantastic when creating textures. They allow you to take any image and essentially modify it beyond recognition. You can pick and choose which filters you use to create textures, though you will find that once you pick a type of texture (light or grunge, for example), certain filters are more useful than others. The following are just some of the filters I use, though I would recommend exploring all the filters to find what works for you.

01. artistic -> underpainting
This filter creates a water-coloured look on your image, while also giving you slightly textured edges. This is great to use on a texture you're already making, when you want to add some visible texture into your image, but it can also be used on a whole image, and then there is the option to select out separate sections that you think would work as individual textures.

02. blur -> box blur, gaussian blur & smart blur
Blur settings are my go to for light textures. The key is to get the right amount without over-blurring. Play with all the blur filters & settings to find what works best for you.

03. noise -> add noise
Want a filter that will add automatic grunge to your texture? Noise is it. It can be used as a subtle addition, or to the extreme, depending on how grunge you'd like your grunge to be.

04. render -> clouds & fibers
Both clouds & fibers add extra elements to a texture that you can modify and play with. They don't actually use the base image, the chosen colours come from those you have selected in your colour picker. Here I simply selected two colours from the base image and used those, however this is an excellent filter to use when creating textures from scratch.

05. stylize -> wind
This filter came to my attention after the fabulous lookslikerain mentioned it. (If you want some texture!inspiration, they are the best!). It's fun to play with, and helps with to create grunge, decorative and even scratch textures.

06. texture -> grain & texturizer
Grain works like noise, though it is slightly more subtle, and it also has added options for you to explore. Texturizer is a slightly more subtle version of underpainting, except the textured look covers the entire image.

07. topaz
So topaz is fun with textures. I promise. If you have something detailed, it can smooth it out and make it more texture than not. It can blur in a different way to the other blur options. It can create a great base for you to make a texture around. Just get creative with it and see where it goes.


This is where we can get some decorative textures happening. Brushes, shapes and fonts can be used to create textures from scratch, but also be added to textures that you've created using filters to add contrast or visible texture. You can rotate, resize and also play with the layer modes with all these tools to create interesting textures as well.

01. brushes
Brushes are the greatest for creating textures. Grunge, paint splatter, water colour - whatever you want. I get my brushes from here, and generally search through the Abstract, Scratches & Shapes options to find interesting brushes for textures. I tend to play with the size of brushes - using them at full size on a blank canvas then re-sizing, rotating and changing the layer mode on my textures, but that's just my preferred method. It's another anything goes situation, so explore brushes to your hearts content.

02. shapes
The shape tool is lots of fun with icons, but it also works with texture as well. From basic blocking (with rectangles or squares) to creating patterns (circles or ovals), or even to using the more creative shapes in a unique way, shapes can be used to create interesting decorative textures as well.

03. fonts
Fonts are my favourite! There is so much you can do with fonts. You can be all decorative and fancy, you can add shapes or figures, you can even find yourself a good grunge font and add some grunge layering to your texture. Explore dafont.com and see what you can find? The sections I tend to browse there are: decorative, medieval, Celtic & dingbats, if I am looking for something special.

04. dodge & burn tool
This is where we move from decorative textures to light & grunge textures again. Dodge and Burn is awesome. Want to lighten up a portion of your light texture to give it more contrast? Use the dodge tool (on midtones or highlights), and just run it over the section and it will lighten it up. Alternatively, if you want to darken parts of your texture, use the burn tool (on shadows) and it will make that part darker.

05. gradients
This is where my light textures from scratch start from. Gradients are awesome, and I don't think anything else needs to be said here.


All that remains is those regular things you do for icons, but guess what? They work for textures too! Want to change the colours of a texture? Use your adjustment layers. Want to add contrast, or lighten your texture? Use your layer modes. Don't be afraid to treat a texture like you would an icon, sometimes they require just as much effort, but it can be worth it.

adjustment layers

layer modes

closing statements

Throw it all together, and you've got yourself a texture! Combine a variety of elements from above, depending on what sort of texture you want to make.

If you are interested in other texture making guides, check out these:
Texture Guide #1 | Texture Guide #2 by fuuurs
A Texture Making Guide by innocent_lexys

If you have any questions or queries they are most welcome to be directed here or at my original ask the maker comment.
Tags: .guide

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